Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Where Was That Again?

I read an interesting article the other day that reminded me bout the phantom Bible verses that people sometimes quote.  The article is "Actually, that's not in the Bible" by John Blake of CNN.

The premise of the article is that most Christians have never read the Bible, nor are they well versed on what the Bible actually says.

He makes a strong case by pointing out a number of phrases which people usually believe are Biblical--but which do not appear anywhere within the Bible:

Some of the most popular faux verses are pithy paraphrases of biblical concepts or bits of folk wisdom.

Consider these two:

“God works in mysterious ways.”
“Cleanliness is next to Godliness.”

Both sound as if they are taken from the Bible, but they’re not. The first is a paraphrase of a 19th century hymn by the English poet William Cowper (“God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform).

The “cleanliness” passage was coined by John Wesley, the 18th century evangelist who founded Methodism,  says Thomas Kidd, a history professor at Baylor University in Texas.

“No matter if John Wesley or someone else came up with a wise saying - if it sounds proverbish, people figure it must come from the Bible,”

He later writes about another popular non-Biblical phrase: spare the rod and spoil the child, which is often quoted in an effort to support physical punishment.

The bottom line for me after reading this article is to remind me that not everyone who quotes the Bible actually has read what they are quoting AND that that I need to continue to diligently question every teaching and check it against the source document for accuracy not only in word but context.

Christians also need to actually read the book that they haul around to meetings and church--what a concept. Open the cover and read and question and search the pages for the actual words of God.

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